“. . . I just know it’s true !” Only silly people say that, but it is not only silly; it can also be very funny, as Bill Maher has hilariously illustrated. Maher is, of course, one of American TV’s star comedians, with his own talk-show. People he interviews are sometimes interesting; Bill is always brilliant. His humor is intelligent, low-key, incisive and spot-on. He built a whole series of segments of his programs with the title quoted in the one above. Google and enjoy ! As an apéritif, try these : “I don’t know if Queen Elizabeth’s tea is 90% gin; I just know it’s true”, or “I don’t know if Hillary Clinton’s main fashion inspiration is the Teletubbies …” – accompanied by unflattering photos that reveal her unwanted kilos in an array of baggy pantsuits, or “I don’t know for a fact that Donald Trump buys his furniture from Dictator Warehouse, I just know it’s true” – this with a photo of the Donald in an enormous, gold-encrusted, throne-like armchair in one of his Trump palaces. Maher’s broadsides are usually cruel, always funny.
Non-atheists would not use the expression, because they claim that what they believe they DO know for a fact. They just KNOW that to say God exists is true, that when we die we will be sent to Heaven or Hell, and that as Catholics they just KNOW that the Pope is infallible and that St Anthony of Padua finds things that they lost. Most don’t bother looking for arguments to support their beliefs. They just know they are true because that’s what Sister Angelina or Brother Jonathan or Father Kelly taught them. Maher makes a joke of people’s credulity by inventing calumnious enormities about celebrities. They are so outrageous they tickle our funny bone. Religious beliefs are outrageous, but believers do not get the joke.
Faith in fiction – credulity – is the foundation of religion. If you grew up in a family and school environment where everyone believed that Allah rewards kamikase terrorists, or that Jesus rose from the dead, or that Joseph Smith really did receive the Book of Mormon on two golden plates from the Angel Moroni, you don’t need arguments to back up your faith. To question it would be a sin. “For the unbeliever, no proof of God’s existence is possible; for the believer, no proof is necessary.”
Theologians, however, have always thought they could back up faith with reason(s), “evidence”, for non-atheists’ beliefs. They accuse atheists of “bad faith” for not recognizing the cogency of Christian apologetics. The problem is that some atheists like me not only see arguments for belief as pathetic wishful thinking, but frankly as silly as any of Bill Maher’s jokes. Hence our mantra :
R I D E N D A R E L I G I O